We have all seen the words “Reduce, reuse, recycle” for years, but are we actually acting on those words? It was not until recently that I personally began to really look at each decision I was making, and how that decision honored or ignored the “reduce, reuse, recycle” process. How about you? We have indisputable information in front of us pointing to the unsustainable amount of waste we are creating. Each decision before us can start making a difference now.

“Reduce, reuse and recycle” helps conserve landfill space, saves natural resources, lessens pollution and greenhouse gases while also keeping our rivers, mountains and favorite places pristine and beautiful.

When reducing, always consider the following:

• Do I really need this item?

• Will something else work?

• Can I repair what I already have?

• Can I make something myself? (Here is a great recipe for homemade mouthwash: https://eschenbachdental.com/all-natural-homemade-mouthwashes-that-you-can-try-while-staying-at-home/.)

In addition to the decisions we each make here are just a few of the businesses in our county that can help with reducing, reusing and recycling:

(Please let me know of others at wallowacountyrecycling.com.)

• Wild Carrot and BeeCrowBee will refill their product containers.

• Ruby Peak Naturals refills your spice container and you can buy produce, bulk flour, rice, beans, etc. in your own reusable bag, jar or container.

• Carman Ranch Provisions (nikki@carmanranch.com) and Genuine Wallowa County Provisions (online) offer local and regional sustainably raised consumable and/or craft products minimizing packaging, transportation, and “middleman” costs.

• Azure Standard, (online) makes monthly drops, with minimal packaging, of virtually all the grocery products you would need.

• Safeway’s deli counter will wrap your sliced luncheon meats in paper if you just ask, (be sure to ask for no plastic bag as well).

• Central Copy will take back your corn starch packing peanuts and reuse them for shipping.

• Valley Meats puts a note in their cardboard meat-packing boxes to encourage you to bring it back for them to pack another order.

• The Bookloft sells used books and can order any book available on the internet.

• The Gold Room, Terminal Gravity, Dog Spot, Range Rider and Arrowhead Chocolates use recyclable to-go containers. Many others do as well, but I have not been able to give everyone a call. Ask before you place an order, thank them if they do, and if they do not use recyclable to go containers, coffee cup lids, etc., let them know the importance of this to you as one of their customers.

The following are a few more community based reduce, reuse, recycle thoughts from Randi Jandt, a member of The Friends Of Wallowa County Recycling.

“Several vendors and charities in the community make it possible to reuse items many times over: The Community Resale Store in Wallowa, The Humane Society Thrift Store, Back Achers in Wallowa, B Bright Vintage in Joseph, and who hasn’t had the experience of finding the exact small item you need for your craft/costume/home repair project at Soroptimist Thrift Store? Plus, they give thousands of dollars in scholarships to Wallowa County youths each year. All the money going into these local enterprises is itself “recycled” in the community. We all need to use local retail for anything we possibly can — even if it costs a couple bucks more. Buying local saves tremendously on packaging waste, fossil fuels, transportation costs and recycles your money into building the community you live in. These are the businesses that are supporting 4-H, school sports, the hospital and everything else here. Amazon is not. Also, many businesses, like the Joseph Marketplace Fresh Foods, Dollar Stretcher, R&R Drive-in, Heidi’s in Joseph, Heavenly’s and many others offer locally raised produce and meats and do a superb job of breaking down and recycling their cardboard and properly recycling their materials at the Recycling Center.”

This is just a short list of some of the businesses/organizations in Wallowa County that are working hard to help our planet by limiting waste (thank you). I apologize to the businesses not mentioned and ask for you to email me at wallowacountyrecycling.com to help us create an even more comprehensive list.

To each of us I offer the challenge of really incorporating a reduce, reuse, and recycle mentality into all the decisions we make, and to support and ask all our businesses to do the same.

———

Peter Ferré is a member of the Wallowa County Recycling Task Force.

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